The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the General Assembly in 2007. While it is not a legally binding instrument under international law, the UN describes it as setting “an important standard for the treatment of indigenous peoples that will undoubtedly be a significant tool towards eliminating human rights violations against the planet’s 370 million indigenous people and assisting them in combating discrimination and marginalization.” The declaration affirmed the equality of indigenous people among others and that they should be free from all kinds of discriminations while exercising their rights.
The Declaration sets out the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples. It also “emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations”. It “prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples,” and it “promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development.”
The Declaration provides a wide array of rights to indigenous people. The right to life, right to self determination, right to nationality, right to live in freedom, security, and integrity are some of the rights guaranteed to the indigenous people through this declaration. Indigenous peoples should not be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture. They should not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. The Declaration requires States to take appropriate measures to achieve the ends of the declaration.